Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh’s shift from a leading private hospital in Mumbai to Chennai after he was detected with a liver ailment highlights a trend of an increasing number of patients rushing to the south to get their liver transplants done, as opposed to staying in Mumbai.
Currently, Deshmukh is admitted in an extremely critical condition at Global Hospital in Chennai. He was admitted to the hospital for a possible liver transplant.
According to records, a patient in need of a liver transplant is eight times more likely to get a liver on time in Tamil Nadu as compared to Maharashtra. While not more than six liver transplant surgeries happened in Mumbai last year, over 15 patients from Mumbai went down south to get their liver transplants done.
It is estimated that in the last 10 years, more than 200 patients in Mumbai died while waiting to receive a liver transplant.
Statistics suggest that over the last four years, Tamil Nadu has a much better track record at successful liver transplants than Maharashtra.
In 2012, between June 15 and June 30, as many as five liver transplant surgeries were conducted in Tamil Nadu. On the contrary, Maharashtra has not seen a single liver transplant surgery since the last two months.
Sixty-one-year-old Kurla resident, Saiyedda Begum, shifted base to Chennai last year after waiting for three years in Mumbai to receive a liver transplant. Over the years, Begum’s liver deteriorated after a Hepatitis B virus attack, which she had contracted in the 1990s due to faulty blood transfusion during a surgery. Until last year, close to 95% of her liver was damaged. The doctors warned her family that she would succumb unless a liver transplant was performed within four months.
“For more than a year since we registered in Mumbai, there was no sign of receiving a cadaver donation (organ of a brain dead person). Within four days of registration in Tamil Nadu, a cadaver liver was made available and my mother’s life was saved,” said Saiyedda’s son, Amjad.
Dr Gustad Daver, president of executive council, zonal transplant coordination committee in Mumbai, said, “Patients move down south in anticipation of obtaining a quicker transplant, as the waiting period for receiving the organ in Maharashtra in longer. Identification of brain stem deaths and convincing the family of a deceased to donate is practised in hospitals down south. People in Tamil Nadu agree to donate their deceased kin’s organs out of social responsibility.”